The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Florida attorney Mark Stopa, who previously sold foreclosure defense services, is facing unfortunate difficulties.
The news source says, “The 41-year-old St. Petersburg lawyer became one of the state’s best-known foreclosure defense experts, quoted in national publications and portraying himself as a bulwark against heartless and conniving lenders.”
But on August 21 Stopa’s office was raided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Stopa was said to be involved in “the crime of equity skimming.”
Todd Foster, representing Stopa, says Stopa was helping people, not hurting them.
But after the raid on the office of Mark Stopa, it is reported many attorneys and staffers quit. “It’s like the Titanic going down,” said Richard Mockler, a Tampa attorney who has tried unsuccessfully to salvage Stopa’s law practice.
It appears while Stopa was recognized as a subject matter expert by some, his behavior created some issues which drew attention.
“After hearings this spring on prior complaints against Stopa, Pinellas County Judge Linda Allan, acting as referee, found him guilty on most counts. She indicated that Stopa — prone to angry outbursts against judges and others — “is in great need of professional psychological help and recommended he be suspended,” the petition said.” – Source
Judge Allan wrote, “The Florida Bar has recommended disbarment as the appropriate sanction. The Referee understands this perspective, particularly in light of (Stopa’s) persistence in blaming others and resistance to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his belligerent and angry conduct toward judges and others. However, the Referee believes that an attorney of (Stopa’s) legal talent, intellectual abilities, and many well-served clients deserve a structured opportunity for rehabilitation.” – Source
In the end, it always seems to be the consumers who get caught in the middle of these situations. However, it’s never good to have your office raided.